Silver Lab Controversy And AKC Declaration 101 Guide

Silver Lab Controversy And AKC Declaration 101 Guide

Silver Labradors have been extremely popular for a few years, and a recent controversy again brought them into the limelight.

Silver Labradors are popular and controversial among all the different Labradors. They have light charcoal or greyish coat that make Silver Labs distinctive amongst others. Due to their coat color, Silver Labs have gained immense popularity in entire North America. Also, since the American Kennel Club (AKC) registered Silver Labradors, dog enthusiasts have gone crazy about owning them.

Though from the 20th century, the American Kennel Club started claiming that Silver Labradors are no longer recognized as a dedicated Lab type. In the past several years, AKC has registered many Silver Labs, but it does not longer consider them as distinctive Labrador.


Silver Labradors have always been very expensive dogs, given the uniqueness of their coat color. However, there have always been speculations and accusations that Silver Labradors aren’t purebred Labs.

Silver Lab Controversy And AKC Declaration 101 Guide

More About Silver Labradors

Silver Labradors are arguably the most controversial, and since their origin, these dogs have been a hot topic of discussion.

When Labradors were first bred and recognized, Silver Labs were not in the picture. Labrador Retrievers were first recognized in 1903 in the United Kingdom and a few years later, in 1917, in the United States of America. For a few decades, Silver Labradors didn’t make an appearance, and there was not even a single news article about them. Since the color was unique, if Silver Labs had been present during the initial breed recognition, the news of their presence would have spread like fire in the forest.

It wasn’t until 1950 that anyone knew about Silver Labradors. In the year 1950, some breeders in the United States of America started selling Silver Labradors out of nowhere. Most of these holdout breeders refused AKC’s acceptance and acknowledgment and started confusing the dog lovers. It was the same time when Silver Labradors even started appearing in Literature as ‘Rare Labradors .’

Publication houses like Gun Dog magazine and Kellogg’s Kennel even advertised Silver Labs, and that was how most of the world started knowing about them. What turned Silver Labradors’ popularity into controversy wasn’t their color alone but also the fact that these dogs are very excessively priced. Their insanely high price was somewhere an indication that Silver Labs were introduced for monetary benefits.

In addition, Silver Labradors carry a dilute dd gene, though this gene was never a set standard when Labrador Retrievers were initially bred, recognized, or registered. This fact is a clear indication that Silver Labradors by no means can be categorized as purebred Labradors. And because some floating claims also suggested that Silver Labradors are crossbred of Weimaraners and Labrador Retrievers, the controversy became bigger.

American Kennel Club’s Interference in Silver Labrador Controversy. 

The American Kennel Club and Labrador Retriever Club of America, when conducting an inquiry in 1987, the picture started to change. Representatives from AKC were sent to enquire about the breeding of Silver Lab litters and observe the process. When the study was fully conducted, several color photographs and reports were gathered.

These documents were further deeply studied and reviewed by the American Kennel Club and Labrador Retriever Club of America, and both parties confirmed that Silver Labrador is purebred Labradors by all means. The claims of Silver Labs being a mixed breed of Weimaraners and Labrador Retrievers were rebutted.

Not just AKC but even UC Berkley researched the genetic makeup of the Silver Lab with Weimaraner and found that it isn’t the same.

However, the joint panel of the American Kennel Club and Labrador Retriever Club of America also said that Silver Labradors’ are incorrectly registered as Silver. According to the panel, Silver Labradors could more accurately be Chocolate Labradors, though with a difference in shade. Since then, Silver Labradors’ are registered as Chocolate Labradors, and the claim yet functions the same. As per breed Standards, Chocolate Labradors can range from sedge to chocolate, and that’s how the shade Silver came.

Following the same, Charcoal Labradors got registered under the genetic base of Black Labradors. And in addition, Champagne Labradors got registered under the genetic base of Yellow Labradors.

Presently, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes Labrador Retrievers under three colors Black, chocolate, and Yellow. There could be different lighter shades, but all of them would fall under these three shade categories.

Where Did The Silver Labrador Retriever Come From?

The Silver Labrador Retrievers seem to have come out of nowhere. Until the 1950s, Silver Labradors were completely unknown and out of the picture.

But when the Gun Dog magazine published an article about a litter of ‘rare gray Labradors’ (today) known as Silver Labradors, these dogs came into the limelight.

Before that, never has been seen; even the mention of Silver, Grey, or any other dilute color was even there. Who was the first breeder to breed or introduce Silver Labradors is still unknown or probably very less known of.

Do The Traditional Color Breeders Accept The Silver Labrador As A Purebred?

Silver Labradors are accepted as purebred dogs by all the major Kennel Clubs as well as breeders. There are no reasons why one would not except Silver Labradors as purebred.

The controversy and questions that have been around are only surrounding the dog’s color, but not its being purebred or cross breed. And coat color isn’t the measure of deciding whether the dog is a purebred or a crossbreed.

Is there any Fear of  In-Breeding In The Silver Labrador Gene Pool?

Earlier, when Silver Labradors were initially bred, the fear of In-breeding was definitely there. It was since the gene pool was so small, but there was no choice then breed two Labradors of the same genetics/ancestry.

There were undoubtedly many risks involved, including a wealth of health problems that would most possibly reflect in the litter, but again there were no two choices. Given the circumstance, Silver Labradors long suffered from quite a lot of health problems.

However, it’s been long since then, and the fear of In-breeding is no longer there with Silver Labrador. The world presently has a relatively decent and varied gene pool and a fair number of bloodlines that would not lead to issues of inbreeding.

Summing up…

Silver Labradors are purebred Labradors, but they come under the ‘dd’ color category. ‘dd’ or Diluted color category means that the dog would be recognized under any of the major breed colors. In the case of Silver Labradors, they are recognized under the category of Black Labradors.

Silver Labradors are even recognized by the majority of Kennel Clubs; however, they aren’t fit to participate in a lot of dog shows, only given to their color. Though luckily, they are still one of the most popular pets and dog enthusiasts across the world want to own them, no matter how expensive a Silver Labrador would cost.